Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Het openbaar vervoer in Brussel: Systeem werkt niet!

Interesting TV news article about the 'openbaar vervoer' (public transport) in Brussels. Mostly in Dutch it also dips into French and English and has French subtitles for those who need them.

It highlights the twitter account 'STIB Fail' @STIB_Fail which is an attempt by some to give customers a way of communicating their dissatisfaction with the service. In a country where customer service is really not a high priority this initiative is an excellent way to have our voices heard. In my opinion the public transport here in Brussels is pretty extensive, covering a large area and including buses, trams and the metro (voertuigen=vehicles) at what I think is a reasonable price. The problem which I and many others, including @STIB_Fail , perceive is the poor communication by the MIVB (Maatschappij voor het Intercommunaal Vervoer te Brussel). Often when something goes wrong (which we accept can happen), we just need to be told.

Useful Dutch phrases
Geen metro tussen…. en…..: No metro between….and…..
Onbepaalde duur: Unspecified duration.
Pendelbussen ter plaatse: Replacement buses provided.
Het metroverkeer op lijnen 1 en 5 verloopt opnieuw normaal: Metros are running as normal again on lines 1 and 5.
Potverdekke!: Darn it!

Basic Dutch Phrases

By gum you could cut that Dutch accent with a knife, but it's a nice introduction video to some basic phrases used in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Monday, 2 September 2013

To bowl a maiden over > Mijden?

Whilst playing cricket yesterday I spent some time scoring our first innings and chatting with one of the Flemish players. We mulled a little over the term 'Maiden' (a scoreless over) and I offered that the etymology is more to do with the older sense of being 'unproductive'. I quizzed him if there was a similar word in Dutch and he came up with the possibility of 'mijden' which means to avoid.

The etymology of maiden shows simply a root meaning of 'unmarried' but I can't link it to mijden whose etymology is more associated with the Anglo-Saxon 'mīðan', which also meant to avoid.

It seems my fancy research was all for nothing. It was unproductive: a maiden! I looked back into the etymology to find German, 'mädchen', Dutch 'meid/magd' and English 'maiden'  (ongehuwde, unmarried, unproductive…) to be most likely to have given the word to the cricket over.